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Re: Defending Standarized Endings



  I guess, though it's not precisely neccessary to
give a personal perspective on something like this,
but I have a slight bit of history with Linnean
taxonomy. Having receieved first this in school, and
later during my researches concerning fossil animals
(dinos and cats) the Linnean taxonomy had not been
overshadowed by any other taxonomic system. Grzimek,
et al., used the Linnean system, and this seemed very
pleasant to me at the time. Problematically, it was
titanosaur dinosaurs and passeriform nesting of
further "orders" of birds [using Sibley and Alquist,
Feduccia, Cracraft, etc.] that demonstrated that
conventional "ranking" of taxa was _screwing up_ the
phylogeny and perspectives thereof. For instance, it
was seen that an -oidea was included under a -iformes
or an -ia, and so on, and then lo, Titanosauriformes
includes Titanosauroidea, which includes Titanosauria,
which includes Saltasauridae [= Titanosauridae] ...
resulting in a series of names that, if taken on the
basis of names representing ranks, will cut the
phylogeny into some really polypohyletic pieces.
Similarly, several "orders" of birds are progressively
being considered as steming from within conventional
Passeriformes: Columbiiformes, Psittaciformes, etc.,
that will require, I think, dropping some assumptions
of names representing rank. That's my qualm. I had to
abandon the conventional system at the time, until I
statred reading works by Holtz and Gauthier on the
PT-system. Not that this is any better by certain
degrees, but it sure cleared the mess: a name is a
name, and that's all that it is.

Ken Kinman wrote:
 
<If you don't retroactively emend endings, I don't
really see much point in doing it.>

  This would be my point.

<The ornithologists standardized all bird ordinal
names, not just new ones. All the old descriptive
names were eventually phased out, especially as those
who resisted the changes passed on.>

  Hmm. And as I understand it, some of these names can
be resurrected for purposes of priority. All one would
have to do is demonstrate the name was held previous,
by original or conventional sense it applies, and this
name has priority over the neotaxon or taxon novum
that was coined. Unless you can appeal use of neotaxa
to reflect problems in previous phylogenies, and make
a good case for it, I cannot see many people adopting
a neotaxonomic _retroactive_ standard for a great deal
of fossil vertebrate groups, at least as I look at it.

<And the rank of a taxon tends to be constrained by
historical precedence and general usage. Mammals have
always been a class, so splitting up mammals
automatically yields orders,>

  And this is where this grabs me: this reduces the
meaning of the rank to a _usage_, and therefore has
little value except as part of an explanatory sense:
Whether or not I adopt Mammalea as a neotaxonomic
"class," Class Mammalia will be upheld by nearly every
mammalogist, and just "Mammalia" will be upheld by
most everybody else. I would not think a system that
works by demoting meaning in terminology will be
successful when trying to define names. It becomes
less than a name, it's an appellation without
definition. If mammals are always a class, and the
historical usage is the defining meang for whay you're
keeping it around, then splitting into orders has no
logical basis except for taxa that are otherwise
historically orders; designating a new order or class
or whatever results in  attempting to place a "new"
historical bend on something that has no history. It
is not logical, to use a Vulcan term.

  As a corrollary, what would be your ranks for
Avialae, or Paraves, or Maniraptora, or Eumaniraptora,
taxa that require birds or *Archaeopteryx* in their
definitions [and usage, even historically] as well as
dinosaurs?

<especially in my system where there are no
intermediate levels (which are replaced by coding). 
Bats almost have to be an order, unless Archonta is an
order, and I can't see anyone advocating that.>

  Why? Why can't Chiroptera simply be Chiroptera?
Archonta is a crown group, and does not require a
rank: bats, dermopterans, lemurs, monkeys and apes and
us, etc.

<and Starobogatov made his in 1991 (much more radical
since it mandates typification and introduces some
strange new suffixes/suffices). It's really all the
intermediate categories that make standardization so
difficult,>

  Yes, and can you wonder why? Could you give me the
citation for Starobogatov, 1991?

=====
Jaime "James" A. Headden

  Dinosaurs are horrible, terrible creatures! Even the
  fluffy ones, the snuggle-up-at-night-with ones. You think
  they're fun and sweet, but watch out for that stray tail
  spike! Down, gaston, down, boy! No, not on top of Momma!

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